This is an unexpected but very impressive announcement from a truly iconic brand in the fashion world – Chanel – and they unveiled a brand new, men’s dedicated wristwatch called the Monsieur. Oh, and it’s damn impressive. It’s a jumping hour, retrograde with three-day power reserve, a great profile and stunning view from the back. Let’s get into the Monsieur de Chanel now.
The Monsieur de Chanel is Chanel’s first dedicated men’s watch and certainly first with complication, and what makes that even more important is that it was designed and built completely in-house. And what makes that even more special is that the watch looks fantastic on both the front and the back, and wears like a dream. So what is it? Obviously this is a jumping hour watch, with a pronounced hour display at 6 o’clock. The font used here was indeed designed for this watch – just as the font seen on the Slim d’Hermes was designed for that watch (sidebar: is designing a new font for every new watch now a thing? bc if so, things just got intense).
Directly above the hour at 6 o’clock, you have a lovely running seconds, and above that, you have a retrograde minute display. What is interesting about this retrograde compared to almost all others is that it A) jumps more than 180°, and B) can actually be set going backwards. Both of these are small things, but still show the technical approach that was taken to this watch. Now about that – the Monsieur de Chanel was designed and manufactured completely in-house. Think about that. This jumping hour was made by your wife/girlfriend/sister/SO’s favorite, favorite fashion house. It took them five years, and they’ve gone ahead and brought in some of the best and brightest to make this happen, but it shows how committed they are to fine watchmaking. Oh, and when you turn it over? This.
Look at that thing. And lest we forget, this bad boy says “Chanel” on the other side. The entirity of Caliber 1, as it’s being called, is black anthracite, and the look is downright mean. We have a beautiful central, circular bridge and star-shaped balance wheel. What is interesting to note, and something I had never heard until today, is that Chanel became an investor in high-end independent watchmaker and protegé of no one short of Philippe Dufour, Mr. Romain Gauthier in 2011, and some of the wheels you see here were in fact produced by him, though to Chanel’s specifications. The rear of this watch is simply stunning, and frankly looks and feels well above its weight class. Here is the official pic:
What else do you need to know about the Monsieur de Chanel? It has a three-day power reserve from one barrel. It wears wonderfully at 40 mm wide by 10 mm thick, and it will be a limited edition of 300 pieces, 150 in both white gold and beige gold, at $36,000 and $34,500 respectively. The watch should be available as of this June, and you can sign up to receive more information here.
For a bit more on the background of Chanel timepieces and in particular this very impressive new high-end men’s piece, read this story in yesterday’s New York Times.